It’s no secret that I love the gentle blue and white of azulejos. But gold? That’s where the River Douro glides onto the scene- a golden river. When I looked out of my bedroom window that first morning in Regua, I was so excited to see the mist swirling delicately at the end of the garden. I could barely wait for breakfast to head down to the riverside path and the gleaming water.
I planned to see as much of the river as I could, but was thwarted at the outset. The boat to Barca D’Alva at the Spanish border was not running. It was low season and there was no longer a demand. I resigned myself to following the river upstream on the train- no real hardship as, from Peso da Regua to Pocinho, the tracks hug the river bank. First stop, delightful Pinhao, sleepy in the morning sunshine.
Of course, you know what else I found, don’t you?
I couldn’t resist a sashay through the fabulous Vintage Hotel, and even an expensive glass of wine on the terrace. (Michael blanched at the price, but you only live once, don’t you?) Couldn’t afford twice!
Time to get back on the train for the ride up to Pocinho, through increasingly rugged territory. Apologies for the blurry images out of the train window. I had to try.
At Pocinho we hopped off the train and back on again, as the sun was starting to sink. Just time to capture a quick azulejo on the platform.
With a train strike in the offing and a shortage of boats, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back to Porto. Luck was on my side, however, and Tomaz do Douro came to my rescue. On the quayside the crew were readying the “Via Douro” for departure. She was unbelievably beautiful!
Never mind! The next 6 hours will forever be etched on my memory. In the company of a young American couple (who later revealed that they were on the last day of their honeymoon!) we dined very nicely indeed, and exchanged travel tales, while gazing out at the sublime scenery.
The deepest lock in Europe provided hoots of laughter as we were briefly splattered with water in passing underneath. Then the wonderful moment of sailing into Porto itself. The sun sparkled on the quayside, and Porto rose majestically above us.
What a journey! What an ending! I hoped you enjoyed sharing it with me. For yet more blue and white, my previous post focuses on azulejos in Porto. http://restlessjo.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/simply-beautiful-blue-and-white/